Ngapuriyamayi ngathu yinha nandrayathi

The Dieri language has a very useful ending -yathi which can be added to verbs to indicate a situation that is bad and undesirable. It is often used to warn someone that something bad might happen. For example, if I see a nasty looking dog coming towards you I could say:

nhulu kinthalali yinanha mathayathi ‘This dog might bite you’

which consists of nhulu ‘he, this’, the transitive subject, kinthalali ‘dog’, also the transitive subject (indicated by the ending -li), yinanha ‘you (one), the transitive object, and mathayathi which is made up of the verb root matha ‘bite’ and the ending -yathi.

If it’s clear from the context, for example, we are both looking at the dog, I can also just say:

nhulu yinanha mathayathi ‘He might bite you’

or simply:

yinanha mathayathi ‘(He) might bite you’

Note that yinanha can be reduced to yinha in fast speech, so the quickest warning would be:

yinha mathayathi ‘(He) might bite you’

We also often find this -yathi form used with commands, telling someone to do or not do something, in case something bad might happen. Recall from this blog post that commands are made up of just the verb root if it ends in a, or the ending -ya is added if it ends in i or u. We can also add the emphasis ending -mayi after this if we want to. Here are some examples:

  • ngamamayi yini puriyathi ‘Sit down or you’ll fall over’

this is: ngamamayi the order form of ngama ‘sit’, yini ‘you (one)’ intransitive subject, puriyathi ‘might fall’ based on puri ‘fall over, fall down’

  • wata yarra wapalumayi thanali yulanha nhayiyathi ‘Don’t you two go over that way or they will see you’

this is: wata ‘not’, yarra ‘that way’, direction away from the speaker, wapalumayi ‘you two go!’, thanali ‘they all’, the transitive subject form, yulanha ‘you two’, the transitive object form, and nhayiyathi ‘might see’

  • wata thirrimaliyamayi yulyali yuranha maniyathi ‘Don’t fight one another or the police will get you all’

this is: wata ‘not’, thirrimaliyamayi ‘fight one another!’, consisting of thirri ‘fight’ -mali ‘one another’, -ya ‘order’ and -mayi ’emphasis’, yulyali ‘police’, the transitive subject form, yuranha ‘you all’, the transitive object form, and maniyathi ‘might get’

  • ngapuriyamayi ngathu yinha nandrayathi ‘Be quiet or I’ll hit you’

this is: ngapuriyamayi ‘be quiet!’, made up of ngapu ‘silence, quiet’, -ri ‘become’, -ya ‘command’, -mayi ’emphasis’, ngathu ‘I’, transitive subject, yinha ‘you’ transitive object, and nandrayathi ‘might hit’.

Note that in very fast speech the sequence ngathu yinha ‘I you’ is squeezed down to ngathinha so a useful warning is:

ngathinha nandrayathi ‘I might hit you’


2 thoughts on “Ngapuriyamayi ngathu yinha nandrayathi

  1. Pingback: Kanku karlkungayi | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

  2. Pingback: Kanku ngampu purirna warayi | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

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